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Monday, November 21, 2011

Gramothsava Nov 2011

... was an event at D's school which was on the same day as the flea market (but of course ;)), but it was in the afternoon and so I was able to make it for both events, and was I thankful !

The point of the occasion was to provide a village experience to the children with different areas of the school made up to look like different areas of the village - from the village fair to street performances to folk dances and rangoli competitions. Here is a mostly pictorial take on it:

All dressed and ready to go :).

At the Entrance - some beautifully made up scarecrows!

Amma and Appa holding our breath for the duration of the ride with no seatbelts (how would you find those at a village fair?) D sitting in background on the comfortable seat, but of course S wanted "only" the horse!

Hubby showing off those "lagori" skills :)

What striking colours!

Wonderful performances by the street artists

Lovely view of the sunset towards the end of the evening

There was a promised fireworks performance post 7 pm but by then we started feeling very cold and tired and after making a last stop at the Channapatna toy stall (can we ever have enough of those!) we headed back home.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

No. 100 :)

After a false alarm a couple of weeks back when I was thrilled to have reached this milestone, and then realizing I had a few drafts hiding out there, here I am for real :).

In the spirit of recycling, I was thrilled to visit the Second to None Flea Market on Nov 12th. I had been really looking forward to it, and in spite of a zillion other things turning up which HAD to be on the exact same day, I held on and managed to make it :). Some of the lovely items I picked up:

That's an "upcycled" wine bottle and a lovely papermache one too

A lovely block-printed stole that I couldn't resist!

Also picked up a couple of lovely cloth bags by A Hundred Hands who are also holding their own Collective between Nov 23rd - 27th which I'm really hoping to make it to.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Book Review - I'm not Twenty Four

I was recently involved in a parent volunteering exercise at D's school which involved grading the book reviews done by 10th Std students. Little did I know that I would be moaning and groaning over my own review within a few weeks of being the all powerful examiner ;).

First of all, a big thanks to BlogAdda for sending me this book through their book review program. I felt really thrilled to be chosen, and received the book at my doorstep soon after getting their first mail intimation. Here's the vibrant looking book cover:

The introduction of the book says:
"There are two types of stories. One, where you sit up and say ‘this is so me.’ Second, when a story takes you to a world you would hardly believe actually exists. This story is the latter. Of a Delhi girl who lands in a village in the middle of nowhere."

Although the world as described by the author definitely seems unreal in many ways, there are lots of instances in the books that most readers would identify with and that definitely makes the book a nice read. All of us would tend to nod our head at hearing about the guy who pours a litre of mustard oil on his head for grooming, or about the training program at the starting of a new job :).

The author Sachin Garg has an easy writing style which we can easily identify with, and the book is written in the first person. That itself makes it unusual - for a male author to write in a female voice :). He has done a good characterization of Saumya, and of the people she is surrounded by in the book. 

The book starts off sounding like a typical chick-flick but reveals many layers as you keep reading on. The protagonist Saumya is a typical Delhi girl who loves her malls, short skirts and friends. One of her foremost thoughts on getting a job is to lose that last bit of weight and look good in her formal attire :). Much to her surprize her first posting is in a small village in Northern Karnataka. Her first reactions on hearing of her posting and how she deals with this turnaround in her way of life form the rest of the book.

She meets people like Malappa, a smart colleague, when she learns that first impressions resulting from on-the-surface details like having an accent don't mean everything. She experiences the uncertainties that come out having a unisexual name, meets the local populace of the village who live in such difficult circumstances as compared to herself, and we wonder if this seemingly shallow city girl will find the strength to deal with the new challenges her work life seems to throw at her at every turn.

At a point when she has to decide whether to continue in her new job, she meets Shubhro who is different from anyone she has ever known before. On the surface he seems to be like any other "hippie" character, but does he have another hidden side? Does he change her viewpoint? Does she continue in her job? Read the book to know the rest of her journey !

On the whole, I would definitely recommend this book as a good example of contemporary Indian writing. The author does a good job of mixing fiction with real-life-like experiences and uses scenes from our villages and corporate townships that many of us may have experienced at some time or the other.

Sachin is an Engineer from Delhi College of Engineering (DCE) and did his MBA from MDI, Gurgaon. Apart from books, he has a keen interest in strength training activities and travelling. In 2011, he quit his day job to start his own venture in print media.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Pratham Books - BSR

I have been wanting to write about Pratham Books, which is an NGO doing some wonderful work in promoting reading among children. I waited a while as I wanted to pick up the books and get a personal idea before writing about it :).

First here's the information given at Blogadda:

Activity: Pratham Books was set up in 2004, as part of the Read India movement, a nation- wide campaign to promote reading among children. Pratham Books is a not-for-profit organization that publishes quality books for children in multiple Indian languages. Our mission is to see "a book in every child's hand" and democratize the joy of reading.

In the last 6 years we have published over 200 titles in upto 11 languages and have spread the joy of reading to over 12 million children!
Details: Read about our why we are using Creative Commons here:
Support: reading, literacy, education, kidlit, children's literature, publishing
Note: We have put a lot of our content under the Creative Commons framework and we have begun to see success with this. Which means that we make our stories and illustrations available under an open license model and the larger community can then repurpose our content to create something completely new and thus contribute to the cause of a book in every child's hand. Our books have been adapted by our community into a range of  new creations from audio and Braille books for the print-impaired, to iPad and iPhone applications - all to reach every child in India.

We are hoping that many more people can come forward and help translate/remix/re-purpose/distribute our Creative Commons licensed content.
This post is a part of BlogAdda's Bloggers Social Responsibility (BSR) initiative. I am exercising my BSR. You can too with three simple steps. Visit  and support the NGO's.

And here's my personal take:

This amazing initiative brings out books for as low as Rs. 10 and gives so much variety at prices like Rs. 20, 25 that I sat down on a stool and looked through the collection at Sapna Book House in Jayanagar for quite a while before "settling" for some of them. And there were still so many books left in the pile I'll definitely have to go back many more times to actually make it through all of them :). Here are photos of the books I picked up to give you an idea.

For the 3-6 years category:

For the 7-10 years category:

For Introduction to Reading - these are books with short and simple sentences and I couldn't resist  preparing for S to start out on the reading journey :) !!

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Back to the basics :)

This one is dedicated to D & S, after all the off-topic posts I seem to have been doing lately :).

D is growing into such a young lady. The other day I put out her clothes - a white slightly frilly shirt with a denim skirt. At first she said "Shirt and skirt! Isn't that funny?", then after wearing "Oh, I look like I'm going to Office!!". Much amused at the things children seem to pick up from watching TV :). And in the couple of weeks since this happened, I've rearranged the cupboards so she can take out her own clothes and wear what she wants - interesting choices :).

She has now started talking a few words in Tamil - usually single word responses to a question of mine in the same language.. probably picking up on my feeling bad that both the kids talk only in English.. she's very perceptive that way, always has been! She has become such a responsible child, does all her getting ready for school herself. Her grandparents (my parents-in-law) have just come to visit and are very impressed :). I am of course taking most of the credit ;).

S, oh my God, what do I say about this guy. He's a total salesman in the making, no already made, since the day he started communicating actually ;). Ask him a question, and he'll never say "I don't know!". He had a submarine (a word he didn't know yet) on his T-shirt the other day and when someone asked him what it was, he said "Only when I am a grown up, I will know what that is."

He's at that exasperating stage when he wants to contest anything I want him to do, from drinking his milk, to eating his food, to going to sleep (naptimes slowly becoming a no-go unless I lie down with him). Atleast I'm hoping it's a stage and trying to work through it all holding on to my patience the best I can :(. On the bright side, he's a trooper about eating his food himself - hoping to make him get used to it as soon as possible, so I can have more time to myself ;). This is one of those things where it definitely helps to have an older sibling's example!